The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre to ensure compliance with the MHA order directing landlords to neither ask students and labourers to vacate the premises nor to seek rent for a month during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, which was hearing the matter through video-conferencing, dismissed the plea and said the apex court cannot implement the orders of the government.
The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and B R Gavai, observed that there is already a helpline to monitor the situation and persons aggrieved can approach the authorities concerned through it.
The petitioners, advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak and A K Pandey, had sought action against the alleged “arbitrary and unlawful action” of landlords demanding rent from students and labourers during the COVID-19 lockdown despite a government order to the contrary.
The plea had sought compliance of the MHA’s March 29 order which stops landlords from demanding rent from students, workers and migrant labourers for a month. Those landlords who force people to vacate their houses will face action, the MHA statement had warned.
“Petition is being filled against the arbitrary and unlawful action of landlords in the state of Delhi amid COVID-19 where there is clear instruction issued by the Ministry of Home affairs that in order to maintain the lockdown situation and law and order during COVID-19, order dated March 29, 2020 ”restraining all landlord to forcing labours and students to vacate their premises”, in case they fail to pay rent during this period,” the plea had said.
It had alleged that irrespective of the MHA order, various landlords were forcing tenant students to pay full rent, failing which they would be thrown out of premises.
“Many landlords are continuously putting pressure on students to pay their rent and the students are living in constant fear and depressions. They are feeling helpless in this situation as they cannot demand money from their parents because their parents are also suffering from a financial crisis due to the lockdown….,” the plea had said.
It had said that in a situation like this, the students who are staying in rented accommodations have limited resources at their disposal.